Holland 1978
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Holland 1974.
Group A, Wednesday 14th June 1978 (13.45):
Dutch flag Holland 5 Austria 1 Austrian flag
Scorers -
Brandts Rensenbrink (pen) Rep
6 mins 35 mins 36 mins
Rep Obermayer W. Van de Kerkhof
53 mins 70 mins 82 mins

Teams -
  1 Schrijvers  
  22 Brandts   5 Krol   2 Poortvliet  
6 Jansen   9 Haan   7 Wildschut   11 W. Van de Kerkhof
  10 R. Van de Kerkhof   16 Rep   12 Rensenbrink  

  10 Kreuz   9 Krankl  
11 Jara   8 Prohaska   12 Krieger   7 Hickersberger
4 Breitenberger   3 Obermayer   5 Pezzey   2 Sara
  1 Koncilia  

Substitutes -
3 Schoenaker for 10 R. Van de Kerkhof 61 mins
4 Van Kraay for 22 Brandts 65 mins
Unused Substitutes -
14 Boskamp 18 Nanninga 19 Doesburg    
13 Happich 15 Weber 18 Schachner 20 Baumeister 21 Fuchsbichler

Estadio Cordoba
Referee - John Gordon (Scotland).
Linesmen - Bouzo (Syria), Itharrulde (Argentina).
Venue - Estadio Cordoba, Cordoba.
Attendance 15,000.

  The second phase of the World Cup found Holland in a very tricky group with West Germany and Italy - the penalty for finishing second in their first round group of course. As in 1974, only the winners of the group would progress. It was thus of paramount importance that Holland not only beat Austria, surely destined to be the group's makeweights, but beat them handsomely, with goal difference again likely to be the deciding factor. The change of venue, to damp, cool Cordoba, suited the Dutch perfectly, as did the much firmer playing surface. Unusually for the times, Austria's Willi Kreuz and Holland's Wim Jansen were Feyenoord team-mates.

  Happel's team selection, against the land of his birth, was to a large extent dictated by injuries suffered during the first phase. Neeskens and Suurbier were out for at least this match, and Rijsbergen was unlikely to play again in the competition, so Arie Haan was restored to the team, and PSV central defender Ernie Brandts was called up, along with Piet Wildschut from Twente Enschede in midfield. Having started the 1978 World Cup with nine members of the great team of 1974, Holland were now down to just five of them (Krol, Jansen, Haan, Rep and Rensenbrink).

Line-up v Austria

Line-up against Austria, a decent picture at last!
Krol, Brandts, Poortvliet, René van de Kerkhof, Jansen,
Willy van de Kerkhof, Wildschut, Haan, Rep,
Rensenbrink, Schrijvers.

  It was thus with a few decidedly inexperienced players that Holland faced the second phase of the competition: this was only Brandts's second cap, and Poortvliet had been making his second appearance against Peru, as had substitutes Wildschut and Boskamp against Scotland. Yet it was perhaps this infusion of youth that made all the difference to Holland's performances, as the experienced and proven but possibly a touch predictable band of survivors from 1974 were now reinforced by a trio of harder running players who had much to prove at this level.

Wildschut, probably not taken during this game

  The controversial Dutch coach did make one unforced change, a move little short of sacrilege in the eyes of fans of the 1974 team: the goalkeeper Jan Jongbloed was axed in favour of Piet Schrijvers. The oldest player in the 1978 World Cup, it's hard to see how Jongbloed could specifically be blamed for any of the goals the side had conceded, but the team was now playing a very different style to the 1974 side, and, it would appear, a more orthodox goalkeeper was deemed necessary. Legend has it Happel was none too diplomatic in his communicating this decision to Jongbloed, and stories abound that Jongbloed's wife had to be restrained from going to see the coach to explain to him the error of his ways. It's also been alleged that Zwartkruis, not Happel, was the instigator of this change, accusing his superior of relying too heavily on players with reputations. Whichever, the fact that Pim Doesburg was named as substitute goalkeeper in front of the man in the No 8 jersey could be taken as clear evidence of a rift in the camp.

  A free-kick just outside the Austrian penalty area led to the first goal, as superb movement off the ball by the Dutch forwards led to Brandts heading home unopposed from close range.

  Some might call this good luck, others good management, but Brandts's influence on the team at both ends of the field was to be an increasingly decisive factor in this game and on the Dutch challenge for the World Cup overall - this in spite of the fact that he had played for PSV for just one season.
Poortvliet and Brandts in defensive action against Austria's Kreuz

  Holland doubled their lead from the penalty spot when Jansen, presented by a hesitant defence with two chances to cross the ball, was unceremoniously upended by the midfield playmaker Herbert Prohaska, and Rensenbrink scored his fourth spot-kick of the tournament. Almost immediately from the restart, Rensenbrink picked up Schrijvers's throw-out and went marauding down the left. His cross found a criminally unmarked Rep, who had time to mis-control the ball once before lobbing it over the onrushing goalkeeper Fritz Koncilia.

  Holland's ill-fortune with injuries continued to haunt them. René van de Kerkhof had to be substituted, in favour of another debutant, the Ajax midfielder Dick Schoenaker (to judge from his squad number, I daresay he was the last-minute replacement for Van Hanegem, though I've not been able to confirm this), while Brandts was forced to give way to Adri van Kraay, the last remaining defender in the squad.

  Nevertheless, the rout continued. Rensenbrink carved the Austrian defence open through the middle, was belatedly forced out wide, but had plenty of time to steer the ball into the path of Rep, who scored unopposed.
Wildschut again
(Thanks to Miguel Rodriguez for the photo)

  The gallant Austrians tried to keep the game alive as a contest, and a cross from the right into the Dutch box was played on by the defender Erich Obermayer. Schrijvers's awkward attempts at an interception only led to him flattening the Austrian: the referee would certainly have awarded a penalty had the ball not bounced into the net. This was a far worse error than any made by Jongbloed in the Scotland match, but in fairness Schrijvers had made a few decent saves today, and anyway Holland now seemed to require a "shot-stopper" more than a counter-attacking goalkeeper in the Jongbloed mould. Schrijvers, though somewhat unathletic of build, had been a great keeper in his own right for many years, and was now firmly installed as the coach's choice, even if he did commit the odd indiscretion.

Willy van de Kerkhof's goal...   Holland, with the importance of goal difference clearly understood, wouldn't allow Austria off the hook at 4-1. Rensenbrink, completely beyond the control of the Austrian defence, set off down the left wing, leaving a trail of defenders in his wake.

... and the celebration

  When he squared the ball along the ground into the danger area, both the Van de Kerkhofs were unattended in goalscoring positions. Willy was the nearer, so to him fell the honour of completing the scoring.

  This win finally made people set up and take notice of the Dutch challenge for the 1978 World Cup. Their performance in the opening round having been undistinguished, they were now compelled to play at a higher level in order to have a chance of further progress. That they had raised their game to the standard required at exactly the right moment was a great credit to the team and their coach; that they appeared to have done so almost by accident was by no means the least appealing feature of this remarkable team.

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